Rain, rain go away — it’s time to go fish today.
Despite the monsoon that covered up our local waters for nearly a week, fishers are still managing to find a good bite.
Fishing the flats for spotted seatrout is still a good bet. Most catches are falling between 12-14 inches, which although just below the legal size limit of 15 inches, still provides good action on the water. Mixed in with the trout bite are a whole assortment of other species — Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevalle and ladyfish.
Fishing reefs and wrecks in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico is still proving productive for mangrove snapper. Small live shiners on a knocker rig are working most of the time. When the snapper get “weird” you can free-line baits or even pieces of bait back to the fish to get a bite.
On my excursions with Southernaire Fishing Charters we’re doing the snapper thing. I like chumming the snapper with fresh dead shiners. Once the snapper are schooled up and happy feeding in the chum, I like to free-line baits into the fish. For rigging, I’m using about 10 feet of 15-pound fluorocarbon for a leader. The addition of a No. 4 hook completes the rig. A lot of times I’m using just a 1/2 piece of bait and burying the hook in it so the snapper don’t shy away.
This method is resulting in limits of snapper for my clients. Most catches are 12-15 inches. While targeting snapper, we are getting cut off by many mackerel, but catching a few due to the small hooks and light leader.
On the flats I’m finding seatrout quite accommodating. Free-lined live shiners are quickly being eaten by hungry trout that are taking up residence over the deep grass flats of Tampa Bay. A lot of the trout are just below slot-size but with determination anglers are catching their limit of keeper fish.